Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Proxy-climate data from mires using two standard techniques

We have cored and analyzed peat from eight Eropean ombrotrophic mire sites along two transects (E W from Estonia to Ireland; and N S from The Faroes to Spain) to produce plant macrofossil and peat humification datasets that serve as continuous proxy-climate records for up to the past 4500 years. Identification and quantification of plant macrofossils used an updated protocol of the Quadrat and Leaf Count Macrofossil Analysis technique (QLCMA). This experimental methodology assesses the volume percentages of botanical macrofossils in peat samples. The abundance of unidentified organic matter (UOM), identifiable Sphagnum, monocotyledons and ericaceous roots were determined using averaged quadrat counts, and all other identifiable plant remains were recorded.

Core sampling. Coring teams were co-ordinated regionally: Partner 4 (UH.DES) led the Baltic mire coring teams; Partner 2 (UvA) the teams for the central group of mires; Partner 7 (TCD), for the Irish and Spanish mires and Partner 1 (UoG), for the Faeroese mire. After agreeing common protocols for sampling, we surveyed stratigraphically and cored all the mires, taking particular care over the sampling locations according to mire microtopography. We sub-sampled the cores contiguously, taking thin parallel samples for the two methods described here.

Macrofossil analysis. Here we used a standardized method of QLCMA. We analyzed contiguous 1 cm subsamples for plant macrofossils to produce proxy-climate records for all named sites found suitable on the E W and N S mire transects. This allowed us to characterize the climate variability of terrestrial Europe over the past few thousand years and to focus attention on periods of abrupt climate change for further detailed multi-proxy analyses.

Peat humification. We analysed sub-samples for determining peat humification by colorimetry using a standard protocol. These analyses were performed on contiguous thin peat samples at all sites.

The E W transect of sites was extended to Newfoundland by agreement of a third party.

Publications resulting from this work have been targeted at international peer-refereed journals. It is expected that each site will yield at least one publication on the proxy-climate data, and that papers combining the records from several sites will also be prepared.

The data are expected to be archived in the Pangaea database.

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Reported by

Centre for Environmental Change and Quaternary Research
University of Gloucestershire
GL50 4AZ Cheltenham
United Kingdom
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